Rates FAQ

Great question! Rates can be confusing, especially when you are paying rates to us and also your local council. It’s not a simple answer but here we try to break it down…

Firstly, rates are split into different rate types depending on the activities they’re paying for and where that activity is. The two main categories are General Rates and Targeted Rates.

This year we revisited our rates after community feedback on our draft Annual Plan. The team looked at different ways we could fund the work programmes we must undertake over the next 12 months to reduce the impact on your back pocket. This resulted in reducing the amount of general rates we’re charging this year:

General Rates increase: 0%

General rates are paid by every ratepayer in Otago, as these activities benefit everyone equally.

Average targeted rates increase: 3.9%

These are rates that are targeted to specific ratepayers as they pay for work that benefits only some people or parts of the region.

There is another part to the rates calculation. Two districts (Dunedin City and Central Otago) had property re-valuations carried out by QVNZ in the last 12 months, and in both locations, property values increased. This doesn’t mean your rates bill will increase by the same amount as your property value did.

So, what does it mean?

We have a set work programme over the next 12 months that has been estimated to cost $77.3 million dollars. We break this cost down into different buckets, they are:

  • General rates
  • Targeted rates
  • Subsidies and grants
  • Fees and charges
  • Other income
  • Port Otago dividends
  • Reserves

Here in Otago, we’re lucky to have Port Otago dividends and Reserves to help us out this year; not many councils are in a position to be able to offset rates in this way. We’ve put together some graphs showing our spend and income this year to help break it down. The money we collect from rates this year covers 35% of our overall programme costs.

Learn more about ORC rates

You can apply for the refund online through our property search.

Alternatively, you can apply for a refund by downloading the form, filling it out, and returning the completed form to our rates team (rates.queries@orc.govt.nz)


ORC is our region’s lead organisation for environmental management. We set environmental policies and rules to protect Otago’s water, land and air. We also respond to pollution events and take a lead role in pest management. We have an active role in minimising risks from natural hazards, making sure you’re safe when on the water along our coast and on our lakes and rivers, and we provide public transport in Dunedin and Queenstown. We also provide support to community groups for environmental enhancement.

District and city councils focus on infrastructure like three waters (drinking water, storm water and wastewater) libraries, roads, parks and recreational facilities.

Yes. All property owners in Otago pay rates to ORC separately from the rates they pay to their local city or district council.

If you would like to know the options for how to pay your rates view our ways to pay your rates page.

Your annual rates assessment is sent out in August or September each year, with full payment due on the last business day of October.

If you’re experiencing financial hardship and having difficulties paying your rates, please get in touch with our rates team to discuss options.

You can do this by calling 0800 474 082 or emailing rates.queries@orc.govt.nz.

If a formal arrangement to pay agreement is set up and kept with ORC any penalties incurred during the arrangements to pay period are waived.

A 10% penalty will apply to unpaid rate balances on 1 November. A further 10% penalty will be applied to unpaid arrears rate balances on 1 May.

ORC accepts no responsibility for late arrival of your payment due to incorrect addressing, postal service timing, or any other reason.

Our Rates Remission and Postponement Policy is available for you to read here.

Find out more about the different ways to pay your rates.


Yes, you can. You can do this by setting up a direct debit with us. You can choose to:

  • Pay in three equal direct debit instalments on the last business day in October, February and June
  • Or you can set your direct debit up to pay the full amount owing by direct debit on the due date, which is 31 October

Please note: if 31 October falls on a weekend or public holiday, funds will be debited on the closest business day prior to 31 October.


Not necessarily. It depends on how much the property value has increased. If your property value increase is the same as the average property increase in the district, then your rates will not be affected.

However, if your property value has increased substantially more than the average, then your rates may have increased to reflect this.

The uniform rate is charged per property regardless of current value. 

Capital value, or CV, is the amount of rate calculated against the property's current capital value. Capital value is the value of your property including improvements as at 30 June.

We get most of our information from Quotable Value New Zealand (QVNZ).

All Otago local councils use QVNZ to maintain the District Valuation Roll. This provides an efficient one-stop source of information on Otago properties. Properties in each district are valued by QVNZ every three years.

If you would like to suppress your name and address from the rating information database, you will need to complete the ‘Suppress your name and postal address’ form.
You can either complete this online via our property search, or download the form and return it to our rates team via post or email.

Additional details about the rates foundation and policies can be found in the latest version of the Long-term Plan or Annual Plan.

Otago Regional Council uses property records held by your district or city council. If you’ve changed your postal address, contact your local council with the new details. They will notify us of the change. Please see below for the contact details for local councils in the Otago region.

Dunedin City Council: (03) 477 4000
Queenstown Lakes District Council: (03) 441 0499 
Clutha District Council: (03) 419 0200
Waitaki District Council: (03) 433 0300
Central Otago District Council: (03) 440 0056

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